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Leo Dehon was born on March 14th 1843, in La Capelle, France. From adolescence onwards he felt called to be priest although it was against his fathers will. Following the wishes of his father he went and studied Civil Law in Paris and accepted the offer (again by his father) to go on a journey, to several regions, including Holy Land, in a attempt to help him to forget the idea of becoming a priest.

But on his return, Leo asked to begin at Saint Clare’s Seminary in Rome where he did his studies in Theology and Canon Law.
On December 19th, 1868 he was ordained a priest, in the presence and agreement of his parents. Appointed as one of the parish curates in St. Quentin, he accepted his mission with enthusiasm and was able to take on pastoral initiatives connected with the most diverse types of work: oratory, college, printing, youth ministry, and the working class.

He was a cultured priest, both spiritual and dynamic, yet something was disturbing him. So after a long period of discernment, he made the decision to found the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in June 28th, 1878, the day of his First Profession. The principle aim of the Congregation was to be devotion to Sacred Heart of Jesus and to spread his Reign in the hearts of the faithful and in society.

His cultural formation and sensibility lead him to work in the social and missionary fields, spreading the social doctrine of the Church through conferences, articles, magazines, newspapers and books. Of particular note is ‘The Social Christian Manual’. He has also the merit of opening the Congregation to missionary work by sending many religious to America and Africa.

He died aged 82 years, on August 12th, 1925.

Fr. Dehon was a man of great activity. He took on many initiatives during his long life. He was a man of action with a deep spirituality. See below the most significant dates of his life.

• March 14, 1843 – Birth
• March 24, 1843 – Baptism
• June 04, 1854 – First Communion
• June 01, 1857 – Confirmation
• Christmas, 1856 – Vocation

• August 16, 1860 - Bachelor in Sciences
• April 02, 1864 – Doctor
in Civil Law
• June 27, 1866 – Doctor in Philosophy
• June 13, 1871 – Doctor in Theology
• July 24, 1871 – Doctor in Canon Law

• October 25, 1865 – Admission
• December, 1868 – Priestly Ordination
• 1868 Stenograph during the First Council Vatican

• November 16, 1871 – Coadjutor of St. Quentin (Basilica)
• June 02, 1872 – Chaplain for the Servants of the Heart of Jesus
• June 23, 1872 – Patronage of St. Joseph
• October 23, 1873 – Catholic work circle
• December, 1874 – Foundation of the paper Le Conservateur del’Aisne
• October 24, 1876 – Honorary Canon
• August 15, 187
7 – St. John’s College

• July 13th 1877 - Juridical foundation of the Oblates of the Heart of Jesus, with the letter of the Bishop of Soissons
• July 31st 1877 – He starts his Novitiate
• July 31st 1877 – First Constitutions
• June 28th 1878 – Official foundation of the Institute with his First Profession
• 1886 Publication of the First Thesaurus (Prayer Book)
• 1889 First phase of the
magazine “The Reign of the Heart of Jesus”
• 1900 Suspends his commitment in the social work field
• 1910 Euch
aristic Congress of Montreal
• March 14th 1912 – Publication of his Souvenirs
• 1914 – 1917 - First World War – Away from St. Quentin
• December, 1914 – He wrote his Spiritual Testament
• 1919 Last
edition of Spiritual Directory
• 12 August, 1925 – Died a holy death in Brussels